This study evaluates a survey about Swedish farmers' attitude towards
genetically modified (GM) crops, and their perception concerning potential
benefits and drawbacks that cropping of an insect resistant (IR) GM variety
would involve. The questions were “tick a box” choices, included in a
yearly omnibus survey sent to 1000 Swedish farmers (68% response rate).
The results showed that a majority of the farmers were negative, although
almost one third claimed to be neutral to GM crops. The farmers recognized
several benefits both in terms of agricultural production and for the
environment, but they were also highly concerned about the consumers'
unwillingness to buy GM products. Farmers perceived an increase in yield,
but nearly as many farmers thought that there would be no benefits with
growing an IR GM crop. Several differences in hopes and concerns of the
farmers surveyed were revealed when they were divided in positive, neutral
and negative groups. Farmers negative to GM were more concerned than
positive farmers about IR GM crops being dangerous for humans, livestock or
other organisms to consume. GM-positive farmers seemed to be most concerned
about potential problems with growing a marketable crop and expensive seeds,
but saw a reduced health risk to the grower, due to less use of pesticides,
as a possible benefit. The results among the GM-neutral farmers were in most
cases closely related to the positive farmers' choices, implying that they
believe that there are advantages with growing an IR GM crop, but also fear
potential drawbacks. This general uncertainty about GM IR crops may prevent
them from accepting the new technology.